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The Stone Diaries
The Stone Diaries is a 1993 novel by Carol Shields.
The book is the fictional autobiography of Daisy Goodwill Flett, a seemingly ordinary woman whose life is marked by death and loss from the beginning, when her mother dies during childbirth. Through marriage and motherhood, Daisy struggles to find contentment, never truly understanding her life's true purpose.
The title of the book might have been inspired by Pat Lowther's poetry collection A Stone Diary (1977). Lowther's murder in 1975 was the inspiration for Shields' earlier novel Swann: A Mystery (1987).
Part of the setting for the book is the historic Vinegar Hill neighborhood of Bloomington, Indiana.
Awards and nominations
The Stone Diaries, Shields' best-known novel, won the 1993 Governor General's Award for English language fiction in Canada and the 1995 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in the United States. As an American-born naturalized Canadian, Shields was eligible for both awards; it is currently the only novel ever to have won both awards. It also received the National Book Critics Circle Award and was nominated for the Man Booker Prize.
Although Stone Diaries has been reprinted many times, the first Canadian edition is still not common in the used/rare book field. The first edition was published by Random House of Canada. The copyright page makes no statement of first edition, nor does it contain a number row. However, later printings are always noted. In other words, the first edition can be identified by the absence of a statement of reprint.
Useful photos of the first British, Canadian and American editions can be found below.